file53003

					SME Business Barometer
June 2009


URN 09/P75D


By IFF Research Ltd.
August 2009
SME Business Barometer June 2009
A Snapshot of Small Business Employers in the UK
Introduction
Between October 2007 and March 2008 IFF Research undertook the 2007/08 Annual Small Business Survey
(ASBS) on behalf of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) – now the
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). A representative sample of 9362 small businesses across
the UK were interviewed (7783 of which employed at least one other member of staff).

BERR/BIS has re-commissioned IFF Research Ltd. to re-contact a sample of these SMEs (employers only) to
determine how well or badly they have performed in the previous year, and to assess their levels of business
confidence going forward. The first wave of this ‘Business Barometer’ was conducted in December 2008,
followed by a waves at two monthly intervals. This report contains the findings of the fourth wave of research,
                                   th       th           1
which was conducted between the 16 and 30 June 2009 . 500 employers were interviewed.

Those interviewed were directors, owners and co-owners of the businesses.

One hundred and ninety-nine of the interviews (40 per cent) conducted were with SME employers that had
sought finance in the year before the 2007/08 survey took place. This proportion was corrected (to 23 per cent)
at the analysis stage through weighting.

In interpreting these findings it must be borne in mind that the sample is not fully representative of all SMEs in
the UK in that:

          Businesses with no employees have been excluded from this survey

          Businesses that started up in 2008 (or 2009 to date) are not interviewed

Nor is the survey exactly representative of SME employers that operated in 2007/08, as those that have closed in
2008-09 cannot be interviewed.

However, it is possible to make comparisons between the four Business Barometer surveys. In this report we will
highlight changes in the findings between the waves that are statistically significant at the 95 per cent
confidence level. In general, when considering the overall samples for two waves, a change of 4 to 6 per cent
                              2
indicates a significant change .

Different businesses/respondents were interviewed in each wave of the Business Barometer.




1
    More details on the sampling and weighting process are given in the technical appendix to this report
2
  This depends on the percentage where the finding is at. A change of 3.7 per cent is required for findings around
10 or 90 per cent; a change of 5.7 per cent for findings around 30 or 70 per cent; and a change of 6.2 per cent for
findings around 50 per cent. Throughout the report, changes are described as statistically significant or not.
Significance testing has been done at the 95% confidence level.

Where a change occurs for figures based on sample sizes of less than 10 respondents, this is not reported as
significant.

                                                                                                                 1
Summary
Over the 12 months prior to the June 2009 survey, 33 per cent of SME employers have reduced staff levels, with
13 per cent now employing more. These figures are very similar to those seen in the February and April
Barometers. Thirty-four per cent have recruited any new employees in the last 12 months – again, a very similar
proportion to the previous Barometers.

Forty-six per cent of SME employers have seen their turnover decrease compared to 12 months previously. This
is a slightly higher figure that those seen in the previous Barometers.

However, the outlook for 12 months time looks much better. Twenty-one per cent of SME employers expect to
have more employees than now in 12 months time, compared to 12 per cent thinking they will have fewer. This
is the first time since the Barometer began in December 2008 that more firms expect employment levels to
increase than decrease. The primary, manufacturing and service sectors are the most bullish in this respect.

Twenty-eight per cent of SME employers expect their turnover to be higher in 12 months time, compared to 21
per cent thinking it will be lower. Again, this is the first time the positive has been greater than the negative
since the Barometer began.

The incidence of late payment is still broadly the same as previous surveys (33% of those offering credit). The
proportion saying it is a problem remains high (71%, no change on April) as does the proportion saying it is a big
problem (28%, no change on April). Of those working for the public sector, 8 per cent claim that payment has
sped up in the past six months, with 7 per cent saying it has slowed down. There are no significant differences in
this respect according to the type of public sector body that is dealt with.

Eight-five per cent of SME employers are confident that their businesses will be trading in 12 months time, whilst
6 per cent are not confident, similar figures to the April and February Barometers. Confidence continues to be
highest among the service sector, and least high among primary/manufacturing employers.

Seven per cent anticipate closure or transfer of their business in the next 12 months. Although this figure is
lower than the equivalent in April, it is similar to that seen in February.

Seventeen per cent of SME employers sought finance in the last 6 months – a similar proportion to that seen in
the previous Barometers. Working capital and cashflow remain the main reasons for seeking finance, and a bank
loan remains the type of finance most likely to be sought.

Forty-four per cent encountered difficulties when trying to obtain finance, and 33 per cent were unable to
obtain any finance at all. Again, these are similar proportions to those seen in previous Barometers, but much
higher figures than those seen in the 2007/08 Annual Small Business survey (ASBS).

A majority (62 per cent) claimed they had a good relationship with their bank. Even so, this percentage is lower
than seen in previous Barometers.

After a dip in the April Barometer, spontaneous awareness levels of Business Link are back to a similar
proportion seen in December 2008. Sixty-one per cent are aware of Business Link Health Checks, with 15 per
cent saying they have had one (a significant increase).

Among those who have had Business Link Health Checks, the proportion satisfied rose from 48 per cent in April
to 74 per cent in June.

Thirteen per cent had made use of HMRC’s Business Payment Support Service, a similar proportion to that seen
in April. Compared to April, beneficiaries of this service were more likely to consider it helpful and sensitive.



                                                                                                                2
Awareness of the Real help for Businesses Now suite of products and services has remained stable, but
awareness of Train to Gain has increased significantly.

The vast majority of SME employers in England (85 per cent) welcome the idea of all Government business
support products having a single identifiable brand name. Most firms (69 per cent) are favourable to Business
Link being the main access, with only 9 per cent being opposed to this.

                                                                                       Steve Lomax, Director
                                                                                            IFF Research Ltd.
                                                                                                 August 2009




                                                                                                           3
Part 1: Growth
Employment Levels over the Last 12 Months

As was also the case in the previous three Barometers, more SME employers in June 2009 have reduced
employment levels in the last year than increased them. As Chart 1 below shows, 33 per cent of SME employers
employed fewer people in June 2009 than was the case a year ago, with only 13 per cent employing more.

Chart 1: Numbers Employed Now Compared to 12 Months Ago - Trends


     Numbers Employed Now Compared to 12 Months Previously


       70%
                               65%
       60%                                                           58%
                                                                                 56%
                                                                                                 54%
                                                            52%
       50%

       40%
                                                            35%
                                                                                                 33%
       30%                                                           30%         31%


       20%                     20%
                               15%
                                                            12%      12%         13%             13%
       10%

        0%
                ASBS 07/08                        Dec-08          Feb-09     Apr-09       Jun-09


                                More than 12m Ago                 The Same   Less than 12m Ago
                Base: All SME Employers (500/501/503/500/7783)




These proportions show almost no change on the February survey.

Analysis of the data by sector in June (see Table 1 overleaf) shows that primary/manufacturing and construction
businesses are significantly more likely to now have fewer staff than a year ago – the same also being true in the
April Barometer.

As has been the case in previous waves of the Barometer, exporters appear to fare better than those who do not
export. Nineteen per cent of exporters are employing more staff than a year ago, compared to just 11 per cent
of those who do not export.




                                                                                                                4
Table 1: Numbers Employed 12 Months Ago – Trends by Sector

                                          All              Primary/          Construction         Transport /            Services
                                                            Manu                                     retail /
                                                                                                  distribution

June 2009
                                         500                  130                  60                  148                  162
Base = all

                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
June 2009 – More than 12
                                          13                   5                    6                   15                  17
Months Ago
June 2009 – Fewer than
                                          33                  51                   45                   25                  30
12 Months Ago
April 2009
                                         501                  157                  62                  136                  146
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
April 2009 – More than 12
                                          13                  10                    5                   10                  19
Months Ago
April 2009 – Fewer than
                                          31                  41                   46                   29                  25
12 Months Ago
February 2009
                                         503                  111                  61                  145                  186
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
February 2009 – More
                                          12                   4                   19                   12                  12
than 12 Months Ago
February 2009 – Fewer
                                          30                  37                   40                   23                  31
than 12 Months Ago
December 2008
                                         500                  123                  62                  137                  178
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
December 2008 – More
                                          12                  18                    9                   10                  13
than 12 Months Ago
December 2008 – Fewer
                                          35                  32                   49                   38                  29
than 12 Months Ago
ASBS 07/08
                                         7783                1498                  742                 2989                2554
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
ASBS 07/08 – More than
                                          20                  21                   21                   18                  21
12 Months Ago
ASBS 07/08 – Fewer than
                                          15                  15                   14                   15                  16
12 Months Ago
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




                                                                                                                                    5
Thirty-four per cent of SME employers have recruited any new employees in the last 12 months – a figure
consistent with that seen in previous Barometers, but nonetheless still significantly lower than that seen in the
ASBS (see Table 2 below)

As was the case in April, new employees were least common in the construction (17 per cent) and
primary/manufacturing (24 per cent) industries.


Table 2: Recruited New Employees in the Last 12 Months – Trends by Sector

                                          All              Primary/          Construction         Transport /            Services
                                                            Manu                                     retail /
                                                                                                  distribution

June 2009
                                          501                 130                  60                  148                  162
Base = all
                                          %                    %                    %                   %                    %
June 2009                                 34                   24                  17                   39                  39

April 2009
                                         501                  157                  62                  136                  146
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                    %
April 2009                                36                  28                   20                   35                  43

February 2009
                                         503                  111                  61                  145                  186
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                    %
February 2009                             37                  18                   28                   38                  46

December 2008
                                         500                  123                  62                  137                  178
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                    %
December 2008                             37                  47                   27                   38                  36

ASBS 07/08
                                         7783                1498                  742                 2989                2554
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                    %
ASBS 07/08                                44                  45                   44                   43                  45

Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




Forty-five per cent of exporters have recruited new employees in the past 12 months, compared to 31 per cent
of those who do not export.




                                                                                                                                    6
Expectations of Employment Levels in the Next 12 Months

Twenty-one per cent of SME employers think they will employ more staff in a year’s time. This compares with 67
per cent thinking employment levels will remain stable, and 12 per cent saying they think they will need to lose
staff.

Chart 2: Expectations of Numbers Employed in 12 Months Time


        Numbers Expect to Employ in 12 Months Compared to Now


         80%

         70%
                                                                                                  67%
         60%                                                           61%
                                 59%                          59%                  58%

         50%

         40%

         30%
                                 24%                          24%                21%          21%
                                                                       22%
         20%
                                 16%                                   16%       20%
                                                              14%
                                                                                                  12%
         10%

           0%
                  ASBS 07/08                        Dec-08          Feb-09     Apr-09       Jun-09


                                      More than Now                 The Same    Less than Now
                  Base: All SME Employers (500/501/503/500/7783)




Chart 2 above shows the trend in expected employment levels over time, and demonstrates that there is now
                                                                                                   3
strengthening optimism in the June Barometer compared to the previous waves. The net difference between
the two measures is now +10 per cent, a figure that is comparable to than that seen in the 2007/08 ASBS (+ 8
per cent).

The improved confidence for employment continues to be largely driven by the service sector, 28 per cent of
whom say they will employ more in 12 months time, but the primary/manufacturing sector is also more likely to
think they will employ more than was the case in the April Barometer (35 per cent in June, up from 18 per cent
in February). The transport, retail and distribution sector is the only one to have a negative outlook, with the net
difference being -7 per cent. These results are shown in more detail in table 3 overleaf.

All sizes of SME employers – micro (1-9 employees), small (10-49 employees) and medium sized (50+ employees)
are net positive in their outlook for employment (+9 per cent for micro and small, +8 per cent for medium). This
is in contrast to the April Barometer where small businesses were net negative (-9 per cent).




3
    Net difference = % saying they will employ more, minus saying they will employ fewer.

                                                                                                                  7
Table 3: Numbers Expect to Employ in 12 Months Time Compared to Now – Trends by Sector

                                                   All            Primary/         Construction        Transport /         Services
                                                                   Manu                                   retail /
                                                                                                       distribution
June 2009
                                                   500               130                 60                 148               162
Base = all

                                                    %                 %                  %                   %                %
June 2009 – Will Employ More
                                                   21                 35                 14                 10                28
than Now in 12 Months Time
June 2009 – Will Employ Fewer
                                                   12                 13                  7                 17                    9
than Now in 12 Months Time
April 2009
                                                   501               157                 62                 136               146
Base = all
                                                    %                 %                  %                   %                %
April 2009 – Will Employ More
                                                   21                 18                 14                 18                27
than Now in 12 Months Time
April 2009 – Will Employ Fewer
                                                   20                 19                 15                 24                19
than Now in 12 Months Time
February 2009
                                                   503               111                 61                 145               186
Base = all
                                                    %                 %                  %                   %                %
February 2009 – Will Employ More
                                                   16                 21                 14                 11                18
than Now in 12 Months Time
February 2009 – Will Employ
Fewer than Now in 12 Months                        22                 21                 27                 18                24
Time
December 2008
                                                   500               123                 62                 137               178
Base = all
                                                    %                 %                  %                   %                %
December 2008 – Will Employ
                                                   14                 14                 22                 11                15
More than Now in 12 Months Time
December 2008 – Will Employ
Fewer than Now in 12 Months                        24                 27                 23                 27                20
Time
ASBS 07/08
                                                  7783               1498                742               2989              2554
Base = all
                                                    %                 %                  %                   %                %
ASBS 07/08 – Will Employ More
                                                   24                 22                 24                 21                29
than Now in 12 Months Time
ASBS 07/08 – Will Employ Fewer
                                                   16                 17                 18                 17                15
than Now in 12 Months Time
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




                                                                                                                                      8
Turnover in the Past 12 Months

In the June Barometer 46 per cent of all SME employers claim their turnover has dropped, compared to just
                                                                                  4
under a quarter (24 per cent) who say it has increased. The net increased turnover is now -22 per cent, the
lowest seen in the Barometers so far.

Chart 3: Turnover Compared to 12 Months Ago


        Turnover Now Compared to 12 Months Previously


         50%
                                                                                                   46%
         45%                                                  44%
                                 42%                                   43%
                                                                                  43%
         40%
         35%                     35%
                                                                                 31%
         30%                                                         28%                        28%
                                                              27%
         25%                                                           26%
                                                                                24%             24%
         20%
                            20%
         15%
         10%
           5%
           0%
                  ASBS 07/08                        Dec-08          Feb-09     Apr-09          Jun-09


                                  More than 12m Ago                 The Same   Less than 12m Ago
                  Base: All SME Employers (500/501/503/500/7783)




In the June Barometer there are no significant differences in turnover trends according to sector or size, but we do
find that exporters are more likely to have increased turnover than non-exporters (33 per cent compared to 21 per
cent), and are less likely to have decreased turnover (35 per cent, compared to 49 per cent).

Women-led businesses are significantly more likely than average to have decreased turnover (60 per cent), echoing
the same finding that was seen in the April Barometer.




4
    Net turnover increase = % saying turnover has increased, minus % saying it has declined.

                                                                                                              9
Table 4: Turnover Now Compared to 12 Months Previously – Trends by Sector

                                              All            Primary/          Construction        Transport /           Services
                                                              Manu                                    retail /
                                                                                                   distribution

June 2009
                                             500                 130                 60                  148                162
Base = all

                                              %                   %                  %                   %                   %
June 2009 – Turnover Greater
                                              24                 21                  23                  24                  25
than 12 Months Ago
June 2009 – Turnover Less
                                              46                 49                  50                  49                  41
than 12 Months Ago
April 2009
                                             501                 157                 62                  136                146
Base = all
                                              %                   %                  %                   %                   %
April 2009 – Turnover Greater
                                              24                 16                  23                  22                  28
than 12 Months Ago
April 2009 – Turnover Less
                                              43                 48                  49                  47                  36
than 12 Months Ago
February 2009
                                             503                 111                 61                  145                186
Base = all
                                              %                   %                  %                   %                   %
February 2009 – Turnover
                                              28                 30                  13                  24                  34
Greater than 12 Months Ago
February 2009 – Turnover
                                              43                 42                  47                  49                  37
Less than 12 Months Ago
December 2008
                                             500                 123                 62                  137                178
Base = all
                                              %                   %                  %                   %                   %
December 2008 – Turnover
                                              27                 36                  14                  22                  31
Greater than 12 Months Ago
December 2008 – Turnover
                                              44                 36                  45                  52                  41
Less than 12 Months Ago
ASBS 07/08
                                             7783               1498                 742                2989                2554
Base = all
                                              %                   %                  %                   %                   %
ASBS 07/08 – Turnover
                                              42                 47                  40                  38                  45
Greater than 12 Months Ago
ASBS 07/08 – Turnover Less
                                              20                 19                  17                  23                  19
than 12 Months Ago
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




                                                                                                                                    10
Future Turnover Expectations

Looking forward, 28 per cent of SME employers expect their turnover to increase in 12 months time compared
to now, with 21 per cent expecting it to decrease.

This is the first time since the Barometers began that more SME employers expect turnover to increase than
decrease.

Chart 4: Turnover Expectations in 12 Months Time


     Expectations of Turnover in 12 Months Time Compared to Now


       60%

       50%                     49%                                                           46%
                                                                              42%
       40%                                                  41%
                                                            36%      39%
                               35%
                                                                     33%
       30%
                                                                   25%
                                                                                28%         28%
                                                                              24%               21%
       20%
                                                            16%

       10%                13%


        0%
                ASBS 07/08                        Dec-08          Feb-09     Apr-09       Jun-09


                                    More than Now                 The Same    Less than Now
                Base: All SME Employers (500/501/503/500/7783)




Table 5 below shows trends in turnover expectation by sector.

Construction and transport, retail and distribution businesses are less likely than average to think turnover will
increase, whilst service industries are more likely.

Compared to April, primary and manufacturing businesses are significantly more likely to think turnover will
increase.




                                                                                                               11
Table 5: Expectations of Turnover in 12 Months Time – Trends by Sector

                                               All             Primary/         Construction        Transport /          Services
                                                                Manu                                   retail /
                                                                                                    distribution

June 2009
                                               500                130                 60                 148                162
Base = all

                                                %                  %                  %                   %                  %
June 2009 – Turnover Will Be
                                               28                  30                 15                 22                  37
Greater in 12 Months Time
June 2009 – Turnover Will Be
                                               21                  22                 18                 17                  24
Less in 12 Months Time
April 2009
                                               501                157                 62                 136                146
Base = all
                                                %                  %                  %                   %                  %
April 2009 – Turnover Will Be
                                               24                  18                  7                 22                  34
Greater in 12 Months Time
April 2009 – Turnover Will Be
                                               28                  37                 34                 26                  25
Less in 12 Months Time
February 2009
                                               503                111                 61                 145                186
Base = all
                                                %                  %                  %                   %                  %
February 2009 – Turnover Will
                                               25                  27                 10                 26                  27
Be Greater in 12 Months Time
February 2009 – Turnover Will
                                               33                  32                 48                 36                  26
Be Less in 12 Months Time
December 2008
                                               500                123                 62                 137                178
Base = all
                                                %                  %                  %                   %                  %
December 2008 – Turnover Will
                                               16                  18                 20                 10                  18
Be Greater in 12 Months Time
December 2008 – Turnover Will
                                               41                  52                 42                 41                  38
Be Less in 12 Months Time
ASBS 07/08
                                              7783                1498                742               2989                2554
Base = all
                                                %                  %                  %                   %                  %
ASBS 07/08 – Turnover Will Be
                                               49                  51                 44                 47                  51
Greater in 12 Months Time
ASBS 07/08 – Turnover Will Be
                                               13                  11                 13                 14                  11
Less in 12 Months Time
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




                                                                                                                                    12
Growth Ambitions Over the Next Two to Three Years

Sixty-two per cent of SME employers expect to grow their businesses over the next two to three years.

Transport, retail and distribution businesses are less likely than average to think they can grow, and service
industries more likely than average – the same result seen in the April Barometer.


Table 6: Growth Ambitions Over The Next Two to Three Years – Trends by Sector

                                          All              Primary/          Construction         Transport /            Services
                                                            Manu                                     retail /
                                                                                                  distribution

June 2009
                                         500                  130                  60                  148                  162
Base = all

                                          %                    %                   %                    %                    %
June 2009 – Expect to
                                          62                  64                   58                   55                  69
Grow
April 2009
                                         501                  157                  62                  136                  146
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                    %
April 2009 – Expect to
                                          60                  63                   63                   50                  67
Grow
February 2009
                                         503                  111                  61                  145                  186
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                    %
February 2009 - Expect to
                                          65                  61                   48                   62                  74
Grow
December 2008
                                         500                  123                  62                  137                  178
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                    %
December 2008- Expect to
                                          56                  56                   44                   58                  55
Grow
ASBS 07/08
                                         7783                1498                  742                 2989                2554
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                    %
ASBS 07/08- Expect to
                                          67                  70                   61                   65                  70
Grow
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




Growth expectations continue to vary according to the size of the business, with 59 per cent of micro businesses
thinking they will grow (April Barometer = 57 per cent), compared to 77 per cent of small businesses (April = 77
per cent) and 86 per cent of medium-sized businesses (April = 86 per cent).




                                                                                                                                    13
Exports

Twenty per cent of SME employers are currently exporting goods or services outside of the UK. There is a small,
but not quite significant increase in the per cent exporting between the April and June Barometers, but the
figures are still lower than for the 2007/08 ASBS.

Primary and (particularly) manufacturing industries are much more likely than average to export. The percentage
of these exporting has remained stable over time. The construction and transport, retail and distribution sectors
continue to export far less.


Table 7: Whether Currently Exporting Goods or Selling Outside of the UK – Trends by Sector

                                          All              Primary/          Construction         Transport /            Services
                                                            Manu                                     retail /
                                                                                                  distribution

June 2009
                                         500                  130                  60                  148                  162
Base = all

                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
June 2009 – Exporting                     20                  34                    7                   14                  24

April 2009
                                         501                  157                  62                  136                  146
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
April 2009 – Exporting                    16                  36                    7                   10                  17

February 2009
                                         503                  111                  61                  145                  186
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
February 2009 - Exporting                 19                  37                    4                   15                  21

December 2008
                                         500                  123                  62                  137                  178
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
December 2008-
                                          22                  44                   10                   17                  21
Exporting
ASBS 07/08
                                         7783                1498                  742                 2989                2554
Base = all
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
ASBS 07/08- Exporting                     24                  36                   11                   21                  26

Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




Forty-two per cent of exporters expect to increase their level of exports in the next 12 months, 52 per cent think
the levels will stay the same and 4 per cent think the level of exporting will decrease. These figures show no
significant change on the April Barometer.

Of those not currently exporting, only 3 per cent think they will start to do so in the next 12 months – a
consistent proportion with all of the previous surveys.


                                                                                                                                    14
Part 2: Business Environment
Obstacles to Success

When prompted, 32 per cent of SME employers say that the state of the economy is the main obstacle to the
success of their business, a similar proportion to that seen in April.

Compared to April, taxation is less likely to be cited as main obstacles to success, confirming that the higher
proportion mentioning this in April was a seasonal blip coinciding with the financial year end. Regulations are
more likely to be mentioned in June than was the case in April.

Table 8: Main Obstacle to the Success of the Business
                                              June 2009       April 2009       February       December          ASBS
                                                                                 2009           2008            07/08
Base = all                                      n=500           n=501           n=503           n=500           n=7783

                                                  %               %                %               %               %

The Economy                                       32              33              39              41              16

Competition                                       12              12               7               7              14

Cashflow                                          12              10              12              10               9

Regulations                                       12               8              12               7              12

Obtaining finance                                  8               6               4               6               3

Taxation, VAT, PAYE, NI, rates etc.                6              14               7               9              12

Staff recruitment                                  3               2               2               2               5

Transport issues                                   1               1               3               1               1

Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the April and June Barometers




There are some differences in the main obstacle cited according to sector (see Table 9 below).

The transport, retail and distribution sector is less likely than average to mention the economy as the main
obstacle to success, as was also the case in April. It is also less likely to mention cashflow, whereas the
construction sector is more likely than average to cite this.

The service sector is less likely than average to think taxation the main obstacle to success, but more likely than
other sectors to mention obtaining finance.




                                                                                                                          15
Table 9: Main Obstacle to the Success of the Business – June 09, By Sector
                                        All              Primary/           Construction         Transport /             Services
                                                          Manu                                      retail /
                                                                                                 distribution

Base = all                              500                  130                  60                   148                  162


                                         %                    %                   %                     %                   %

The Economy                             32                   39                   38                   25                   34

Taxation, VAT, PAYE, NI,                 6                    8                   11                    9                    2
rates etc.
Competition                             12                   12                    6                   16                   10

Cashflow                                12                    9                   25                    6                   13

Regulations                             12                   14                    5                   13                   12

Obtaining finance                        8                    3                    3                    7                   11

Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




Cashflow

Forty-nine per cent of SME employers consider cashflow difficulties as an obstacle to their success, with 12 per
cent saying this is their main obstacle. Compared to previous Barometers, these figures mark no statistically
significant change.

The most mentioned cause of cashflow difficulty (Table 10) is that income fluctuates while outgoings are steady
(74 per cent), with late payment – whether from individual customers (65 per cent) or from businesses (68 per
cent) being mentioned nearly as often.

Construction businesses with cashflow difficulties are more likely than average to mention several of these
causes. In particular, they suffer from late payment from businesses (86 per cent), and late payment from
individuals (80%), which are their two main causes of cashflow difficulties.

Transport, retail and distribution businesses are less likely than average to mention late payment, but are more
likely than average to mention the early payment requirement (51 per cent) and the difficulty/expense of getting
credit (30 per cent), as well as the high levels of investment required in their businesses (39 per cent).

For the primary and manufacturing industries, the timing of tax payments is a major cause of cashflow
difficulties (54 per cent).

When asked which of the causes of cashflow difficulty was the main problem, 34 per cent of SME employers
cited late payment from businesses. This figure is a (just) significant change on the 26 per cent citing this as the
main problem in April.




                                                                                                                                    16
Table 10: Causes of Cashflow Difficulties
                                                 June 2009         April 2009         February          December          ASBS 07/08
                                                                                        2009              2008
Base = All for whom cashflow is an                N = 256            n=233             n=269              n=262            n=3403
obstacle

                                                     %                 %                  %                  %                %

Income fluctuates while outgoings are                74                80                71                 74               71
steady
Late payment from other businesses                   68                64                63                 64               56

Late payment from individual                         65                62                67                 61               56
customers
Need to offer credit to customers                    49                35                41                 30               38

High levels of working capital needed                43                45                38                 39               49

Early payment required by suppliers                  39                34                36                 38               38

Tax payment timings                                  38                40                32                 35               37

Outgoings fluctuate but income is                    25                26                17                 23               26
steady
High levels of investment required by                24                24                25                 30               39
business
Difficult to get credit from suppliers               20                24                19                 18               18

Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the April and June Barometers




Late Payment

The previous section focused on the SME employers who thought cashflow was a barrier to the success of their
business. This section asks all businesses about late payment, whether or not they thought it was a barrier to
business success.

Sixty-three per cent of SME employers offer their customers credit in the form of giving a period of time before
payment is due (82 per cent of those who sell to other businesses). These proportions are similar to those seen
in previous Barometers.

Thirty-three per cent of those offering their customers extended time before payment say that in the last 6
months they have had customers negotiating longer payment terms. This is a similar proportion to that seen in
the April Barometer.




                                                                                                                             17
Table 11: Whether Late Payment is Problem – Trends by Sector

                                          All              Primary/          Construction             TRAD               Services
                                                            Manu
June 2009
                                        n =345               n=111                n=45                n=85                n=104
Base = all offering credit

                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
Big problem                               28                  27                   43                   27                  23
Small problem                             43                  46                   37                   27                  54

No problem                                26                  22                   20                   46                  18
April 2009
                                        n=336                n=133                n=42                n=74                 n=87
Base = all offering credit
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
Big problem                               31                  31                   37                   13                  43
Small problem                             36                  45                   43                   37                  29

No problem                                31                  24                   14                   48                  28
February 2009
                                        n=338                n=93                 n=35                n=93                n=117
Base = all offering credit
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
Big problem                               20                  16                   29                   11                  28

Small problem                             51                  54                   48                   50                  50
No problem                                30                  30                   23                   39                  22
December 2008
                                        n=312                n=93                 n=47                n=70                n=102
Base = all offering credit
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
Big problem                               33                  26                   63                   23                  32
Small problem                             38                  34                   29                   42                  41
No problem                                29                  40                    8                   35                  27
ASBS 07/08
                                       n=7301               n=1472               n=720               n=2732               n=2377
Base = all offering credit
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
Big problem                               19                  24                   32                   13                  19

Small problem                             34                  41                   35                   29                  33
No problem                                47                  36                   29                   58                  41

Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




                                                                                                                                    18
The proportion of those offering credit that have no problem with late payment has remained steady since
December (there is a small decrease in the proportion with no problems in June, but not significantly so),
although there continues to be some fluctuation between those thinking it a big problem, and those thinking it
to be a small problem. In any case, the proportion saying it is a problem is much higher than it was in the 2007
ASBS. This is particularly noticeable for the service sector which is less likely in June to think this a big problem,
and more likely to consider it a small problem.


Table 12: Proportion of Customer Base where Late Payment is a Problem – Trends by Sector

                                          All              Primary/          Construction         Transport /            Services
                                                            Manu                                     retail /
                                                                                                  distribution

June 2009
Base = All for whom late                n=242                n=81                 n=36                n=48                 n=77
payment is a problem

                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
Half or more                              23                  29                   30                   18                  20
The minority                              41                  35                   20                   35                  53
A very small proportion/a
                                          36                  35                   49                   46                  27
few of them
April 2009
Base = All for whom late                n=244                n=99                 n=32                n=48                 n=65
payment is a problem
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
Half or more                              32                  35                   40                   8                   40
The minority                              29                  27                   25                   29                  32
A very small proportion/a                 37                  38                   35                   62                  25
few of them
February 2009
Base = All for whom late                n=238                n=66                 n=29                n=55                 n=88
payment is a problem
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
Half or more                              22                  15                   25                   16                  19
The minority                              31                  41                   32                   33                  25
A very small proportion/a
                                          47                  44                   42                   51                  46
few of them
December 2008
Base = All for whom late                n=217                n=62                 n=38                n=46                 n=71
payment is a problem
                                          %                    %                   %                    %                   %
Half or more                              36                  39                   54                   7                   43
The minority                              27                  22                   31                   34                  23
A very small proportion/a
                                          37                  38                   15                   59                  34
few of them
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research



                                                                                                                                    19
Thirty-six per cent of those with late payment problems claim it is only a very small proportion of their customer
base that pay late – a similar figure to that seen in April. However, the proportion claiming half or more of their
customers pay late has reduced significantly, from 32 to 23 per cent.

Payment Times from the Public Sector

Forty-three per cent of SME employers work for public sector organisations such as Government Departments,
                                                                                               5
Local Authorities, Higher Education Institutions, Health Services or other public sector bodies . Just under a third
have done so in the last six months. Eighteen per cent have done so as a prime contractor, 12 per cent as part of
the supply chain only.

Primary and manufacturing industries are more likely than average to have worked for Government
Departments, and less likely than average to have worked for Health Services. Transport, retail and distribution
businesses are less likely than average to have worked for Government Departments.

Table 13: Work for Public Sector Organisations – June 09, By Sector
                                                All            Primary/         Construction        Transport /          Services
                                                                Manu                                   retail /
                                                                                                    distribution

Base = all                                     500                 130                60                 148                162


                                                %                  %                  %                   %                  %

Local Authorities                               30                 33                 28                 29                  31

Higher Education Institutions                   21                 25                 18                 18                  22

Government Departments                          20                 28                 20                 14                  22

Health Services                                 20                 11                 24                 18                  23

Other Public Sector Bodies                      20                 27                 11                 19                  21

Any Public Sector                               43                 48                 40                 43                  43

- In the last six months                        32                 37                 28                 28                  34

- As prime contractor in last six
                                                18                 22                 17                 16                  18
months
- As part of the supply chain
                                                12                 12                  8                 10                  15
only in the last six months
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




5
  In the June Barometer respondents were prompted directly with these different types of public sector
organisations. In previous Barometers they were just asked if they had worked for ‘public sector clients such as
Government Departments or other public sector bodies’. Therefore, because the additional prompting in June
has resulted in a much higher proportion working for public sector bodies, the trend figures are not comparable.
For the record, 26 per cent claim to have worked for public sector clients in April, 18 per cent in the last six
months.

                                                                                                                                    20
Table 14: Whether Working More or Less for Public Sector Compared to 12 Months Ago, June 09 By Sector
                                                All            Primary/         Construction        Transport /          Services
                                                                Manu                                   retail /
                                                                                                    distribution

Base = all who have dealt with
the public sector in the last 6                180                 53                 22                  42                 63
months

                                                %                  %                  %                   %                  %

Much more work                                  7                   7                  6                  5                  10

Slightly more work                              12                  7                 15                 12                  14

Same as before                                  55                 52                 65                 65                  48

Slightly less work                              12                 22                  3                 15                   8

Much less work                                  13                 12                 11                  3                  21

TOTAL MORE WORK                                 20                 15                 24                 15                  24

TOTAL LESS WORK                                 25                 33                 18                 17                  29
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




Twenty per cent of those who have worked for the public sector in the last 6 months say they are now doing
more work for them than was the case 12 months before; 55 per cent say they are doing the same amount of
work; and 25 per cent are doing less.

Eight per cent of those who have worked for the public sector in the last 6 months have noticed that they are
being paid quicker than was the case before, whilst 7 per cent say payment has slowed down. The majority, 81
per cent, claim that the speed of payment has not changed. Fifty-nine per cent say they are still mainly paid
promptly, whilst 22 per cent claim they are still being paid slowly (see Table 15 overleaf).

These figures do vary according to whether a business has dealt with the public sector as a prime contractor, or
as part of the supply chain only. In general those who are part of the supply chain are more likely to say that
payment has slowed down, although the result is not quite statistically significant.

Analysis by the type of public sector client does not reveal any significant differences in payment times (see
footnote on next page).

Because the question was changed between the April and June Barometers (see note on Table 13), the figures
are not directly comparable, but for the record in April 15 per cent said that payment had speeded up, 43 per
cent that there was no change and they were still being paid promptly, 17 per cent that there was no change and
they were still being paid slowly, and 10 per cent that payment had slowed down.




                                                                                                                                    21
Table 15: Whether Noticed any Change in the Speed of Payment by Public Sector Bodies in the Last 6 Months.
                                                                       6
June 09, by whether Prime Contractor, and Type of Public Sector Client
Base = All who deal with              All         Prime         Supply         Gov.         Local         Health        High      Other
public sector bodies in the                      Contract       Chain         Depts.       Author-                      Edu.      Public
last 6 months                                      -or                                      ities                                 Sector
                                    n=180          n=98          n=73         n=102         n=139          n=94         n=88      n=93

                                       %             %             %             %             %             %            %         %

Payment has speeded up                 8             9             8             9            10             8           12        11

No change – still mainly
                                      59            57            59            57            58            56           55        47
paid promptly
No change – still mainly
                                      22            28            13            22            21            24           19        26
paid slowly
Payment has slowed
                                       7             4            14             8             7             8           11        12
down
Other/Don’t know                       4             2             6             5             4             5            3         4
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




Seven per cent of those who have worked for the public sector in the last 6 months say that they are always paid
within 10 working days of the receipt of the invoice. Thirteen per cent say that this happens half the time or
more often, 9 per cent on less than half the occasions, and 60 per cent say this has never happened in the last 6
months.

There is no evidence that prime contractors get paid quicker than those who are just part of the supply chain.




6
 There is considerable overlap between respondent in type of public sector client. Please also note that dealings
with these types of public sector client may be as a prime contractor or part of the supply chain only


                                                                                                                                   22
Table 16: Whether Public Sector has Paid within 10 Working Days of Receipt of Invoice in the Last 6 Months, June
                                                   7
09 by Whether Prime Contractor, and Type of Client
Base = All who deal with               All        Prime         Supply         Gov.         Local         Health        High      Other
public sector bodies in the                      Contract       Chain         Depts.       Author-                      Edu.      Public
last 6 months                                      -or                                      ities                                 Sector
                                    n=180          n=98          n=73         n=102         n=139          n=94         n=88      n=93

                                       %             %             %             %             %             %            %         %

Always                                 7             8             7             3             3             7            3         5

Half the time or mainly               13             8            20            10            16            13            8        10

Less than half the
                                       9             9             9             9             9             9           14        13
occasions
Never                                 60            63            57            61            59            59           62        58

Don’t know                            11            12             7            18            12            12           13        14
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




Payment of Bills

Sixty-eight per cent of SME employers say they are paying their bills in the same timescales as they did six
months ago, 28 per cent say they take longer to pay them now – 7 per cent in a significantly longer time period,
and only 2 per cent say they are now paying their own bills quicker. These proportions are very similar to those
seen in the previous Barometers.

There are no significant variances by sector.




7
    See note on Table 15

                                                                                                                                   23
Business Confidence

Eighty-five per cent of SME employers are confident that their businesses will still be trading in 12 months time,
whilst 6 per cent are not confident. These figures are similar to those seen in the previous two Barometers, but
much more optimistic than those seen in December.

Table 17: ‘In 12 Months Time I am Confident My Business will still be Trading’
                                        June 2009               April 2009           February 2009          December 2008
Base = All                                n=500                   n=501                   n=503                  n=500

                                            %                       %                        %                      %

Agree strongly                              74                      70                      73                     61

Agree slightly                              11                      13                      15                     16

Neither agree nor disagree                   6                       6                       5                      9

Disagree slightly                            3                       3                       2                      3

Disagree strongly                            3                       4                       4                      9

Don’t know                                   2                       2                       1                      2

TOTAL AGREE                                 85                      84                      88                     76
TOTAL DISAGREE                               6                       8                       6                     12
NET AGREE - DISAGREE                       +79                     +76                     +82                    +64
Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the April and June Barometers



By sector (see Table 18 below) service industries are the most likely to be confident (90 per cent), as was also the
case in April. Primary/manufacturing continues to be the sector least likely to be confident.

There are no significant changes in confidence levels on the April Barometer.

The net confidence (per cent agreeing minus per cent disagreeing) is significantly higher for service industries
(+85 per cent), and lowest for primary/manufacturing businesses (+ 68 per cent) and minority-ethnic led
businesses (63 per cent).




                                                                                                                            24
Table 18: ‘In 12 Months Time I am Confident My Business will still be Trading’ – By Sector

                                              All            Primary/          Construction        Transport /           Services
                                                              Manu                                    retail /
                                                                                                   distribution

June 2009
                                             500                 130                 60                  148                162
Base = all

                                              %                   %                  %                   %                   %
June 2009 – Confident that
Will Still be Trading in 12                   85                 81                  78                  84                  90
Months Time
June 2009 – Not Confident
that Will Still be Trading in 12              6                  12                   7                   6                  5
Months Time
April 2009
                                             501                 157                 62                  136                146
Base = all
                                              %                   %                  %                   %                   %
April 2009 – Confident that
Will Still be Trading in 12                   84                 72                  69                  86                  91
Months Time
April 2009 – Not Confident
that Will Still be Trading in 12              8                  13                   9                  10                  3
Months Time
February 2009
                                             503                 111                 61                  145                186
Base = all
                                              %                   %                  %                   %                   %
February 2009 – Confident
that Will Still be Trading in 12              88                 84                  92                  83                  91
Months Time
February 2009 – Not
Confident that Will Still be                  6                   5                   4                   9                  4
Trading in 12 Months Time
December 2008
                                             500                 123                 62                  137                178
Base = all
                                              %                   %                  %                   %                   %
December 2008 – Confident
that Will Still be Trading in 12              76                 77                  73                  72                  81
Months Time
December 2008 – Not
Confident that Will Still be                  13                 13                  19                  12                  11
Trading in 12 Months Time
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




                                                                                                                                    25
When asked specifically about plans for closure, 2 per cent of SME employers anticipated closure in the next 12
months, whilst a further 6 per cent anticipated a transfer of ownership. This compares with 6 per cent
anticipating closure in April, and 6 per cent anticipating the transfer of ownership. The changes between April
and June are significant, although the proportions anticipating either closure or transfer are at a similar low level
as the figures in February.

Table 19: Whether Anticipate Closure or Full Transfer of Ownership in Next 12 Months
                                        June 2009               April 2009           February 2009          December 2008
Base = All                                n=500                   n=501                   n=503                  n=500

                                            %                       %                        %                      %

Yes- Closure                                 2                       6                       3                      7

Yes – Transfer of Ownership                  6                       6                       4                      6

Neither                                     89                      82                      92                     83

Don’t know/Refused                           3                       5                       1                      4

ANY CLOSURE/TRANSFER                         7                      12                       7                     13

Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the April and June Barometers



Those in the primary/manufacturing sector are the ones most likely to anticipate closure (6 per cent), those in
transport, retail and distribution the ones most likely to anticipate transfer of ownership (11 per cent). Service
industries are the least likely to do either (4 per cent).

Micro businesses are the most likely to either close or transfer ownership (7 per cent for each).




                                                                                                                            26
Part 3: Access to Finance
Access to Finance

Forty-seven per cent of SME employers claim that external finance is important to their business (24 per cent very
important). These proportions have not changed significantly on the April Barometer.




Table 20: Importance of External Finance
                                            June 2009               April 2009            February 2009           December 2008
Base = All                                    n=500                   n=501                    n=503                      n=500

                                                %                        %                       %                         %

Very important                                  24                       23                      29                        22

Fairly important                                22                       20                      20                        26

Not very important                              20                       23                      22                        19

Not at all important                            32                       30                      27                        31

Don’t know                                       2                       3                        1                        2

TOTAL IMPORTANT                                 47                       43                      50                        48

TOTAL NOT IMPORTANT                             51                       53                      49                        50

Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the April and June Barometers




As seen in previous surveys, external finance is less important to micro SMEs (44 per cent of those with 1-9
employees consider it important, compared to 62 per cent of those with 10-249 employees). These percentages do
not vary significantly by sector.

Minority-ethnic led businesses are more likely than average to consider finance important (68 per cent).

Seventeen per cent of SME employers have tried to obtain finance for their business in the past 6 months – 13 per
cent having done so once, 4 per cent more than once (see Table 21 overleaf). This is a similar proportion to that
seen in April.




                                                                                                                                27
Table 21: External Finance Sought in the Last 6 Months – Trends
                                                 Yes – Once            Yes – More          No         Base all (n=)
                                                    Only               than Once
June 2009                               %                13                4               82             500

April 2009                              %                11                3               83             501

February 2009                           %                16                5               79             503

December 2008                           %                12                7               80             500

ASBS 07-08 (last 12 months)             %                16                7               76             7783


Medium sized businesses are much more likely to have sought finance (32 per cent), than small ones (19 per cent)
or micro businesses (17 per cent) – the same pattern seen in previous Barometers. There are no significant
differences according to sector.

Reasons for Seeking Finance

Finance was most likely sought to gain working capital or to help cashflow (46 per cent). Compared to the April
Barometer there was an increase in the proportion seeking finance to improve buildings, and seeking to
refinance.

Table 22: Reasons for Seeking Finance
                                      June 2009           April 2009           February   December   ASBS 07/08
                                                                                 2009       2008
Base = All who tried to obtain          n=109                 n=109             n=144       n=98      n=2247
                             8
finance in the last 6 months
                                          %                    %                  %          %           %

Working capital, cashflow                 46                   52                41         45          43
Acquiring equipment or
                                          16                   25                26         25          27
vehicles
Improving buildings                       11                   4                  2          2           8
Refinancing                                 8                  2                 11          0           0
Buying land/buildings                       6                  11                 9         10          10
Research and development                    2                  1                  4          2           4

Buying another business                     *                  3                  4          0           2

* = a figure which is more than 0%, but less than 0.5%


Working capital/cashflow is most likely to be needed by exporters (66 per cent).




8
    ASBS 07/08 = seeking finance in the last 12 months.


                                                                                                                 28
Types of Finance Sought

A bank loan was once again the type of finance most likely to be sought (by 40 per cent of those seeking
finance), followed by a bank overdraft (27 per cent).

Table 23: Types of Finance Sought – Trends
                                     June 2009           April 2009   February   December   ASBS 07/08
                                                                        2009       2008
Base = All who tried to                n=109               n=109       n=144       n=98      n=2247
obtain finance in the last 6
        9
months

                                          %                 %            %          %           %

Bank Loan                                40                 40          38         22          44

Bank Overdraft                           27                 19          35         32          26

Mortgage for Property                    12                  2           7         11           7
Purchase or Improvement
Leasing or Hire Purchase                 11                 18          16         12          10

Grant                                    10                  1           4          5           7

Government Guaranteed                     3                  6          N/A        N/A         N/A
Loan/VAT Fund
Credit Card Finance                       2                  *           2          3           1

Loans from Family/Friends                 2                  *           1          6           1
etc.
Factoring                                 1                  4           1          1           1

Equity Investment                         1                  8           2          2           2

Loan from a CDFI                          0                  0           0          1           2

* = a figure which is more than 0%, but less than 0.5%




9
    ASBS 07/08 = seeking finance in the last 12 months.


                                                                                                      29
Table 24: Types of Finance Sought – By Sector

                                            All    Primary/   Construction   Transport/     Services
                                                    Manu                        retail/
                                                                             distribution

June 2009
Base = All who tried to obtain              109       34           9             33           33
finance in the last 6 months
                                            %         %            %             %            %
Bank Loan                                   40       27           64             40           39
Bank Overdraft                              27       36           62             30           14
Mortgage for Property
                                            12       13            0              6           20
Purchase or Improvement
Leasing or Hire Purchase                    11        9            2             18            8
Grant                                       10        6            0              6           19
Government Guaranteed
                                             3        8            0              0            6
Loan/VAT Fund
April 2009
Base = All who tried to obtain              109       32           11            27           39
finance in the last 6 months
                                            %         %            %             %            %

Bank Loan                                   40       41           10             58           33
Bank Overdraft                              19       26           19             15           19
Leasing or Hire Purchase                    18       16           35             27           10
Equity Investment                            8        0            0              0           16
Government Guaranteed
                                             6       11           29              0            4
Loan/VAT Fund
Factoring                                    4        0            6              1            7
February 2009
Base = All who tried to obtain              144       42           11            38           53
finance in the last 6 months
                                            %         %            %             %            %

Bank Loan                                   38       39           38             38           36
Bank Overdraft                              35       56           26             43           22

Leasing or Hire Purchase                    16        6           17              9           25
Grants                                       4        1            0              0           10
Credit Card Finance                          2        *           17              0            0

* = a figure larger than zero but less than 0.5%




                                                                                                       30
Difficulties in Obtaining Finance

Thirty-three per cent of those who sought finance were unable to get any at all from the first source they
approached. A further 5 per cent obtained some, but not all, of the finance they required, and 5 per cent only
obtained finance with some problems. About half (51 per cent) reported no problems.

     Table 25: Whether Any Difficulty Obtaining Finance from the First Source Approached - Trends
                                               June 2009   April 2009     February       December      ASBS 07/08
                                                                            2009           2008
 Base = All who tried to obtain finance           n=109      n=109          n=144           n=98         n=2247
                      10
 in the last 6 months

                                                    %          %              %              %              %

 Yes – unable to obtain any finance                 33        41              35             33             14

 Yes – obtained some, but not all of                5          2              5              7               4
 the finance
 Yes – obtained all of the finance                  5          8              4              11              7
 required but with some problem
 No – had no difficulty obtaining                   51        42              51             46             73
 finance
 Don’t know                                         5          8              5              2               1

 ANY DIFFICULTIES                                   44        50              44             52             26

 * = a figure which is more than 0%, but less than 0.5%




Forty-four per cent reported any difficulty getting finance from the first source they approached. This was
significantly more likely to happen in the construction sector (77 per cent), and for exporters (60 per cent). This
last result shows a change on the April survey where exporters seeking finance were more likely than average
not to have reported problems.

Of those who sought bank finance, only 10 per cent claimed their bank discussed whether a loan backed by a
government guarantee might be suitable for their business.

Even though bank loans were the type of finance most likely to be sought, a bank overdrafts was the form of
finance that was the most problematic to obtain. Fifty-two per cent of those who had difficulties obtaining
finance said this was the thing they had the problem obtaining.

The main reason for being turned down or not getting all the finance they wanted was insufficient security (23
per cent). A third of these people were not given any reason.

Eighty-three per cent of those that were rejected by the source they first approached, or who did not get the full
amount they needed, were also unable to gain finance from other sources. This is a significant increase on the
figure seen in the April Barometer (54 per cent).




10
     ASBS 07/08 = seeking finance in the last 12 months.


                                                                                                                  31
For those SMEs seeking finance but not eventually obtaining it, the consequences were that they had to defer
their plans (9 per cent), had to drop their plans completely (25 per cent) or the lack of finance caused serious
financial difficulties (46 per cent).

Sixteen per cent of those who sought any bank finance in the last 6 months claim that interest rates have
increased in this time. The same proportion claim they had decreased. Those in the service sector that sought
finance were most likely to have noticed a decrease (34 per cent).

Existing Bank Lending - Overdrafts

Fifty-four per cent of SME employers have had an overdraft facility at some point in the last 6 months – the
same percentage as in the April Barometer. All sectors and all sizes of SME employers were as likely as each
other to have a bank overdraft facility.

Changes to the terms and conditions on their overdrafts in the last 6 months were as follows:

Table 26: Changes to Terms and Conditions on Overdrafts in the Last 6 Months
                                                   June 2009             April 2009          February 2009         December 2008
Base = All who have had an overdraft                 n=300                 n=300                  n=326                   n=310
facility in the last 6 months

                                                       %                      %                     %                      %

Bank put up overdraft fees or interest                                        30
                                                       27                                           23                     30
rates
Bank reduced overdraft limit                            9                     10                    10                     8

Bank cancelled existing overdraft                                             4
                                                        4                                            5                     1
facility
Bank extended overdraft limit                          14                     21                    17                     20

Bank reduced overdraft fees or                                                12
                                                       12                                           14                     9
interest rates
No changes                                             46                     44                    47                     52

Don’t know                                              5                     4                      6                     2

Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the April and June Barometers




Between the April and June Barometers fewer businesses experienced extended overdraft limits. Otherwise
there are no other significant changes.

Those in the transport, retail and distribution sector were the most likely to have had reduced overdraft fees or
interest rates (19 per cent), and the least likely to have had increased overdraft fees or interest rates (14 per
cent). Overdraft limits were most likely to have been extended for those in the service sector (21 per cent).

Twenty-one per cent of those with overdraft facilities managed to exceed their limit on at least one occasion.
These findings are consistent with previous Barometers.



                                                                                                                                32
Existing Bank Lending - Loans

Seventeen per cent of SME employers have had a bank loan in the last 6 months (with the loan outstanding).
This is the same percentage seen in the April Barometer.

Bank loans were most common for medium sized businesses (33 per cent).

Table 27: Changes to Terms and Conditions on Bank Loans in the Last 6 Months
                                                   June 2009       April 2009      February 2009        December
                                                                                                          2008
Base = All who have had bank loans in the           n=109            n=114              n=121             n=129
last 6 months

                                                      %                %                  %                 %
Bank renegotiated terms of existing loan
less favourably for borrower                          7                11                11                 4

Interest rates increased on variable loan             3                17                10                 12

Bank cancelled existing loan                          1                 0                 *                  *

Interest rates decreased on variable loan             38               39                38                 20
Bank renegotiated terms of existing loan
more favourably for borrower                          9                 1                 8                 5

Bank asked for more security                          8                 4                12                 7

Any other changes                                     2                 4                 4                 6

No changes                                            49               42                41                 53

Don’t know                                            2                 7                 4                 4

* = a figure larger than zero but less than 0.5%




Forty-nine per cent experienced no changes to the terms and conditions of their bank loans in the six months
preceding interview. This was most likely to be the case for those in the service sector (64 per cent).

Most likely to have experienced lower interest rates were those holding business loans in the construction
industry (62 per cent), and micro businesses (43 per cent). However, the construction sector was also
significantly more likely than average to report that the bank had asked for more security (26 per cent), and had
increased interest rates (12 per cent). Medium sized businesses were also more likely than average to claim
interest rates had increased (28 per cent).




                                                                                                                 33
Relationship with the Bank

Most SME employers claim they have a good relationship with their bank. Thirty per cent claim it is very good,
with a further 32 per cent saying it is fairly good. Seventeen per cent have a poor relationship (10 per cent fairly
poor, 6 per cent very poor).

Table 28: Relationship with Bank
                                                        June 2009            April 2009        February 2009              December
                                                                                                                            2008
Base = All                                                n=500                n=501                n=503                  n=500

                                                             %                    %                    %                     %

Very good                                                   30                   33                   37                    37

Fairly good                                                 32                   38                   30                    34

Neither good nor poor                                       19                   17                   17                    19

Fairly poor                                                 10                    5                   10                     5

Very poor                                                    6                    6                    5                     4

TOTAL GOOD                                                  62                   71                   67                    70

TOTAL POOR                                                  17                   12                   15                     9

Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the April and June Barometers




Compared to the April Barometer there has been a shift with fewer enjoying a ‘fairly good’ relationship, and
more reporting a ‘fairly poor’ relationship.

Medium sized businesses are more likely to enjoy a good relationship (79 per cent), than small (68 per cent) or
micro (61 per cent) businesses.

Factoring

Eleven per cent of those businesses that offer credit to their customers factor their invoices – a similar
proportion to previous Barometers.

Twenty-four per cent of those that factor claim it is harder to obtain factor finance than it was 6 months ago
(most of the rest say it is the same as before, nobody claims it is easier).

Twenty-eight per cent of those that factor say the cost has increased in the last six months, with 56 per cent
saying it has stayed the same, and only 7 per cent reporting a decrease.




                                                                                                                                 34
Trade Credit Insurance

Seven per cent of SME employers that offer credit to customers have trade credit insurance, with a further one
per cent having had it the last year. This is 3 percentage points higher than in the April Barometer, but not quite
a statistically significant change.

However, there does seem to be a significant increase in usage among medium sized businesses on the April
Barometer. Among this group usage has increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent in the June Barometer. Credit
insurance is not likely to be more prevalent in any one of the four broad sectors analysed.

Credit Insurance is more likely to have been held by small businesses (13 per cent) or medium sized businesses
(25 per cent). Only 3 per cent of micro businesses have had it in the last year.

Twenty-four per cent of those who currently have credit insurance or have had it in the last year reported
problems in the last 6 months, a similar proportion to the April Barometer. The most common problem
concerned withdrawal of cover for certain clients. Only one business reported reduced limits.




                                                                                                                35
Part 4: Real Help for SME Businesses
Awareness of Business Link

Sixty per cent of SME employers in England are aware of ‘a publicly funded service providing access to
information and advice for businesses, including a national network of local operators’. The figure is 12 per cent
higher than in April, but the awareness level is back to the proportion seen in February. The transport, retail and
distribution sector is the least likely to be spontaneously aware of this.


Table 29: Awareness of Business Link – Trends by Sector

                                                               All       Primary      Constructi          TRAD          Services
                                                                         / Manu          on
June 2009. Base = all in England                               404          108            47              111             138

                                                                %            %             %                %               %
June 2009 – Spontaneous Awareness of
                                                               60           66             57              47              68
Publicly Funded Business Support Service
June 2009 – Spontaneous Awareness of
                                                               32           40             20              20              42
Business Link
April 2009. Base = all in England                              404          133            51               99             121

                                                                %            %             %                %               %
April 2009 – Spontaneous Awareness of
                                                               48           61             48              44              47
Publicly Funded Business Support Service
April 2009 – Spontaneous Awareness of
                                                               22           29             13              21              24
Business Link
February 2009. Base = all in England                           423           97            52              123             151

                                                                %            %             %                %               %
February 2009 – Spontaneous Awareness of
                                                               60           60             58              51              68
Publicly Funded Business Support Service
February 2009 – Spontaneous Awareness of
                                                               28           29             20              24              33
Business Link
December 2008. Base = all in England                           432          111            53              109             159

                                                                %            %             %                %               %
December 2008 – Spontaneous Awareness of
                                                               65           57             48              68              71
Publicly Funded Business Support Service
December 2008 – Spontaneous Awareness of
                                                               33           29             10              41              36
Business Link
ASBS 07/08. Base = all in England                             6561         1278            633            2467            2183

                                                                %            %             %                %               %
ASBS 07/08 – Spontaneous Awareness of
                                                               42           44             34              40              46
Publicly Funded Business Support Service
ASBS 07/08 – Spontaneous Awareness of
                                                               18           18             11              15              23
Business Link
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research



                                                                                                                                   36
Thirty-two per cent can spontaneously name this service as Business Link, a significant 10 percentage points on
the April figure – thus returning awareness levels to those seen in the December Barometer. The main driver of
this increased awareness comes from the service sector.

Awareness of the publicly funded service and Business Link is highest in the service sector, and lowest in the
TRAD sector. Business Link is also less likely to be known in the construction sector.

Business Link ‘Health Checks’

Sixty-one per cent of all SME employers in England are aware that Business Link provides free business health
        11
checks , a similar proportion as that seen in April. The transport, retail and distribution sector was the least
likely to be aware.


Table 30: Awareness and Usage of Business Link Health Checks – Trends By Sector

                                                   All            Primary/         Constructio           TRAD             Services
                                                                   Manu                n
June 2009. Base = all in England                   404               108                 47               111                138

                                                    %                 %                  %                 %                  %
June 2009 – Aware of Business Link
                                                   61                 63                72                 50                65
Health Checks
June 2009 – Had a Business Link
                                                   15                 20                14                 16                13
Health Check
April 2009. Base = all in England                  404               133                 51                99                121

                                                    %                 %                  %                 %                  %
April 2009 – Aware of Business
                                                   60                 80                52                 54                60
Link Health Checks
April 2009 – Had a Business Link
                                                   10                 23                 8                  5                 9
Health Check
February 2009. Base = all in England               423                97                 52               123                151

                                                    %                 %                  %                 %                  %
February 2009 – Aware of Business
                                                   66                 59                88                 56                71
Link Health Checks
February 2009 – Had a Business
                                                   13                 15                12                 11                14
Link Health Check
December 2008. Base = all in England               432               111                 53               109                159

                                                    %                 %                  %                 %                  %
December 2008 – Aware of
                                                   61                 63                54                 60                63
Business Link Health Checks
Figures in bold are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level against the overall finding for that wave of research




11
  This question was asked after prompting the name ‘Business Link’, hence the figure is higher than for
spontaneous awareness of Business Link

                                                                                                                                     37
There was a significant increase in awareness within the construction industry (up 20 percentage points on the
April figure), but a corresponding decrease in awareness in the primary/manufacturing sector (down 17
percentage points).

Minority-ethnic led businesses are more likely to be aware (82 per cent) than SME employers generally.

The proportion claiming to have had a Health Check has risen significantly since April from 10 per cent to 15 per
cent. By sector, the only significant rise is within the transport, retail and distribution – from 5 to 16 per cent.

Exporters are more likely than average to have had Health Checks (49 per cent). However, medium-sized
businesses were less likely than average to have had one (7 per cent).

Ninety-two per cent of health checks were carried out in person/face-to-face – the same percentage as in April.
Eight per cent claim to have had them by phone.

Of those that had had the health checks, 74 per cent were satisfied (33 per cent ‘very’ satisfied) and 12 per cent
dissatisfied with the information they received as a result of the health check. The increase in satisfaction levels
on the April findings is significant.

 Table 31: Satisfaction with Information Received as a Result of the Health Check
                                                       June 2009                   April 2009              February 2009
 Base = All in England who had a free                     n=62                        n=71                       n=64
 Health Check

                                                            %                          %                           %

 Very satisfied                                             33                         31                         28

 Fairly satisfied                                           41                         17                         33

 Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied                         7                          19                         22

 Fairly dissatisfied                                        11                         12                          9

 Very dissatisfied                                           *                          8                          8

 Don’t know                                                 7                          13                          0

 TOTAL SATISFIED                                            74                         48                         61

 TOTAL DISSATISFIED                                         12                         20                         17

 Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the February and April Barometers.

 * = a figure larger than zero but less than 0.5%




Among those who were aware of the Business Link health checks but have yet to have one, 43 per cent claimed
they did not need any help (same percentage as April). Others did not think Business Link would be able to help
them (18 per cent), preferred to do the health check themselves (12 per cent), or did not have time for one (12
per cent). Six per cent claimed they had had a previously bad experience with Business Link.

Nine per cent obtained advice from other sources such as accountants, banks or trade associations. This was
most likely to be the case for medium sized businesses that had not had a health check (25 per cent).

                                                                                                                                38
HMRC

Thirteen per cent of SME employers have made use of HMRC’s Business Payment Support Service – a similar
proportion to that seen in April.

Of those who had contacted the tax office, 84 per cent found HMRC’s response helpful, 55 per cent considered it
reasonable and 50 per cent sensitive. There are big increases in the percentages considering the advice helpful
and sensitive on the April survey.

Most likely to consider the service helpful were those in the transport, retail and distribution sector that had
used the service (98 per cent).

Table 32: View of HMRC’s Service
                                                        June 2009            April 2009        February 2009              December
                                                                                                                            2008
Base = All who contacted the tax office
during the last 12 months to discuss a                     n=81                 n=71                 n=98                   n=66
payment plan for outstanding tax

                                                             %                    %                    %                     %

Helpful                                                     84                   41                   55                    37

Reasonable                                                  55                   62                   44                    27

Sensitive                                                   50                   19                   18                     6

None of these                                                3                   10                   15                    34

Don’t know                                                   4                    2                    9                     6

Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the April and June Barometers




Real Help for Businesses Now

Seventy per cent of SME employers are aware that the Government has announced a number of measures to
help businesses through the economic downturn – a similar figure to that seen in April. There were no significant
differences in awareness levels between the sectors, but medium sized businesses were more likely to be aware
(82 per cent) than small (78 per cent) and micro (68 per cent) businesses.
                   12
When prompted , 16 per cent claimed they knew the package of measures was called ‘Real Help for Businesses
Now’. This is a significant decrease on the 21 per cent aware in April. No one sector was more aware than the
others.




12
 The actual question used was ‘are you aware that the package of measures is called ‘Real Help for Businesses
Now’?’

                                                                                                                                 39
 Table 33: Awareness of ‘Real Help for Businesses Now’ – by Sector

                                                         All            Primary/    Construct-   TRAD   Services
                                                                         Manu          ion
 June 2009
                                                         500               130         60        148      162
 Base = All

                                                          %                 %          %          %       %

 Aware that Government has
 announced measures to help
                                                         70                 66         71         66      73
 businesses in the economic
 downturn
 Aware that package is called ‘Real
                                                         16                 16         18         16      15
 Help for Businesses Now’
 April 2009
                                                         501               157         62        136      146
 Base = All

                                                          %                 %          %          %       %

 Aware that Government has
 announced measures to help
                                                         71                 80         74         58      77
 businesses in the economic
 downturn
 Aware that package is called ‘Real
                                                         21                 12         17         22      25
 Help for Businesses Now’
 February 2009
                                                         503               111         61        145      186
 Base = All

                                                          %                 %          %          %       %

 Aware that Government has
 announced measures to help
                                                         78                 82         79         69      84
 businesses in the economic
 downturn
 Aware that package is called ‘Real
                                                         24                 14         19         24      29
 Help for Businesses Now’
 Figures in bold are statistically significant for that sector against the total.




Twenty-four per cent claim to have seen advertising which encourages businesses to find out more about the
help available to them – a similar proportion to that seen in April.




                                                                                                                   40
SME employers were asked whether they were aware of various Government measures, and then whether their
business had used them, benefited or accessed the help from any of them.

Table 34: Awareness and Usage of Real Help for Businesses Now Services/Measures
                                                   June 2009     June 2009       April 2009     April 2009       February       February
                                                                                                                   2009           2009
                                                    Aware           Used           Aware           Used           Aware             Used
Base = All                                          n=500          n=500           n=501           n=501          n=503             n=503

                                                      %               %              %               %              %                %

Train to Gain (g)                                     57              7              48              5              52               5
                             13
Business Health Check (d)                             54             12              51              8              55               11
                                                                                                                          14
HMRC Support Service (i)                              45             13              42              11           N/A                16

Government Guaranteed Loan from
                                                      40              1              36              3              40               1
Bank (a)

Prompt Payment Business Code (e)                      35              *              35              1              28               0

Payment by Government within 10 Days
                                                      28              *              29              1              20               1
(c)

Help with Managing Cashflow (h)                       18              *              16               *             18               1

Capital for Enterprise Fund (b)                       16              *              15               *             13               0

RHFB Website (f)                                      15              *              19               *             15               1

None of these                                         13             71              15              75             14               70

Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the April and June Barometers
* = a figure larger than zero but less than 0.5%




Eighty-seven per cent are aware of at least one aspect of Real Help for Businesses Now – a similar figure to that
seen in February. Twenty-nine per cent have used or benefitted from any of the measures, up 4 percentage
points on the April figure – but not a significant increase.

The health check is the measure most likely to have been used, followed by the HMRC support service.

Compared to February, awareness of Train to Gain has increased significantly, up 9 percentage points. Usage of
the health check has also increased significantly, as noted earlier in this report.




13
     Figures here are for all in the UK. The previous figure in Table 30 was for all in England.
14
   Because there was an additional question in February on awareness of the HMRC service, the February figure
is not comparable with the figure for April or June.

                                                                                                                               41
As was also the case in April, most likely to have made use of any of the measures is the primary/manufacturing
sector (39 per cent – up from 36 per cent). This compares to 23 per cent of the construction sector, 21 per cent
of the transport, retail and distribution sector and 27 per cent of the service sector.

 Table 35: Ease of Finding Information about Real Help for Businesses Now
                                                       June 2009                   April 2009               February 2009
 Base = All who have accessed help                        n=176                      n=117                      n=124
 available through Real Help for
 Businesses Now

                                                            %                          %                           %

 Very easy                                                  17                          8                         20

 Fairly easy                                                24                         41                         31

 Neither easy nor hard                                      13                         16                         14

 Fairly hard                                                6                          11                         20

 Very hard                                                  6                          12                          5

 Don’t know                                                 35                         12                         10

 TOTAL EASY                                                 41                         50                         51

 TOTAL HARD                                                 11                         23                         25

 Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the April and June Barometers.




Forty-one per cent found it easy to find information about Real Help for Businesses Now, 11 per cent found it
hard. Compared to April there are more finding it very easy to find information, and fewer finding it fairly easy.
There are also fewer finding it hard. However, it should also be noted that the proportion stating don’t know has
increased to 35 per cent.




                                                                                                                            42
 Table 36: Satisfaction with the Information Found
                                                       June 2009                   April 2009               February 2009
 Base = All who have accessed help                        n=176                      n=117                      n=124
 available through Real Help for
 Businesses Now

                                                            %                          %                           %

 Very satisfied                                             24                         19                         12

 Fairly satisfied                                           29                         36                         45

 Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied                         7                          14                         17

 Fairly dissatisfied                                        5                           4                         11

 Very dissatisfied                                          1                          12                          3

 Don’t know                                                 34                         14                         11

 TOTAL SATISFIED                                            53                         55                         58

 TOTAL DISSATISFED                                          6                          17                         15

 Figures in bold are statistically significant changes at the 95% confidence level between the April and June Barometers.




Fifty-three per cent were satisfied with the information they received – a similar proportion to that seen in April.
Six per cent were dissatisfied – a significant 11 percentage point decrease on the equivalent figure in April. This
has occurred as a result of the percentage very dissatisfied having fallen from 12 per cent to 1 per cent.

As was the case in the previous question, the proportion stating ‘don’t know’ to this question has increased to
about one third.




                                                                                                                            43
Single Identifiable Brand Name for Business Support Products

Based on those in England only, 85 per cent of SME employers would find it helpful if all Government business
support products had a single identifiable brand name. Fifty-five per cent think this will be very helpful, 29 per
cent fairly helpful. Only 3 per cent would find it unhelpful (this was the case for 16 per cent of minority-ethnic
led businesses).

The vast majority within all sectors and sizes of SME employers agreed it would be helpful.


 Table 37: How Helpful if Government Business Support Products had Single Identifiable Brand Name – June
 09, by Sector

                                                         All            Primary/    Construct-   TRAD   Services
                                                                         Manu          ion
 June 2009
                                                         404               108         47        111      138
 Base = All in England

                                                          %                 %          %          %       %

 Very helpful                                            55                 55         56         50      59

 Fairly helpful                                          29                 28         28         32      28

 Neither helpful nor unhelpful                            9                  7         10         11       8

 Fairly unhelpful                                         2                  2          0         2        3

 Very unhelpful                                           1                  0          1         1        1

 Don’t know                                               3                  8          4         4        1

 TOTAL HELPFUL                                           85                 83         83         83      87

 TOTAL NOT HELPFUL                                        3                  1          2         2        4

 Figures in bold are statistically significant for that sector against the total.




The main reasons for finding it helpful are that a single point of access would make things easier (mentioned by
61 per cent of those that found it helpful), that they would always know who to go to (15 per cent), it would
make the types of help more identifiable (12 per cent) and make the process quicker (5 per cent).

The following are examples of verbatim answers given on this question:

Occasionally I look for grants and don’t know where to look. I would know where to look if it was under one
brand.

We would have a one stop shop for help rather than trawling through different sites.

You are so busy doing what you’re doing – there are too many things and it can get confusing. The guaranteed
fund for example, it keeps changing its name. It all gets confusing so one source would really help.

As an SME we are unaware of many things to do with government bodies. One name could provide a wider
function in helping businesses.

                                                                                                                   44
You never know what you need in the future. To know it’s there means you can fall back on it. I have hardly heard
of any of the help available, so it would make it easier.

It would be helpful to speak with someone who could cover all the issues and not just one.

Everything changes every 5 minutes. The constant evolution and rebranding of services available leads to
confusion and is unnecessary.


Sixty-nine per cent of SME employers in England are favourable to Business Link being the main access for these
business support products. Thirty-seven per cent are very favourable, and 32 per cent fairly favourable. Nine per
cent are unfavourable.

Most likely to be unfavourable towards the idea are those in the primary/manufacturing sector – 15 per cent.




 Table 38: How Favourable or Unfavourable to Business Link being Main Access for Government Business
 Support Products – by Sector

                                                         All            Primary/    Construct-   TRAD    Services
                                                                         Manu          ion
 June 2009
                                                         404               108         47        111        138
 Base = All in England

                                                          %                 %          %          %         %

 Very favourable                                         37                 27         31         42        38

 Fairly favourable                                       32                 39         36         28        30

 Neither favourable nor unfavourable                     20                 16         22         22        19

 Fairly unfavourable                                      5                  7          5         1          7

 Very unfavourable                                        4                  8          2         4          4

 Don’t know                                               3                  3          4         3          2

 TOTAL FAVOURABLE                                        69                 66         68         70        68

 TOTAL UNFAVOURABLE                                       9                 15          7         5         11

 Figures in bold are statistically significant for that sector against the total.




Reasons for being favourable to the idea are that Business Link is a well known organisation (mentioned by 32
per cent of those in favour), because it is easier to have a single point of access (27 per cent), because they have
been used before (16 per cent), because they are seen to understand the needs of the business (9 per cent),
because they are local 97 per cent), and because they are trusted (4 per cent).

Examples of specific comments on the subject are as follows:



                                                                                                                    45
Because I am aware of Business Link, and aware of their website.

Well they're already in the arena aren't they? They're already offering a service a support service so I think that
from the Government point of view it's good to use what you've got already. Also because they're a commercial
organisation they're a bit closer to the ground than civil servants. Firstly, it's important to have the people who
are advising to have some relevant commercial experience, and secondly I think they're more aware and have a
greater understanding of the situation.

Because it's someone we've dealt with before. We know our local representative.

Because they are local and have a good understanding of business in our area. The information they give is
relevant. I’m very impressed with how helpful they have been.

Because we already have connections with them and our experiences with them have been very satisfactory.

I think their website is quite user friendly. I've used it a few times before.

They're an established route. Why invent something else?




                                                                                                                  46
Technical Appendix
A sample of SME employers was drawn from those who had taken part in the 2007/08 ASBS survey and who
were willing to be recontacted:

          Those that had been interviewed in the December 2008, February and April 2009 Business Barometer
           were excluded

          Only those with employees were sampled

          Those who had applied for finance in the 12 months preceding the 2007 interview were oversampled so
           that they represented 40 per cent of the sample

          The sample was drawn in the correct regional proportion (the 2007/08 ASBS contained boosts in the
           South West and North West regions)

          Larger SMEs were oversampled (10-49 employees, 50-249 employees)

Quotas were imposed on size of business (according to number of employees), broad sector
(primary/manufacturing; construction; transport, retail and distribution; service), and whether finance had been
sought in the 2007 survey. The data were weighted at the analysis stage to correct this sampling bias and make
the survey representative of all SME employers (based on 2007 SME statistics, published by the Enterprise
Directorate).

Figures reported on in this report are statistically significant at the 95 per cent confidence limit, unless stated
otherwise. No design factor has been applied to the calculations. Where a change occurs for figures based on
sample sizes of less than 10 respondents, this is not reported as significant.

Table 39: Unweighted and Weighted Data – June 2009
                                                                 Unweighted                      Weighted
                                                              n=              %             n=              %
1-9 employees                                                 250            50            418              84
10-49 employees                                               159            32             71              14
50-249 employees                                              91             18             11              2


Primary/manufacturing                                         130            26             73              15
Construction                                                  60             12             60              12
Transport, retail and distribution                            148            30            167              33
Services                                                      162            32            200              40


Sought finance in the previous 12 months (in 2007)            199            40            115              23
Did not                                                       301            60            385              77


Total                                                         500           100            500              100


                                                    th
500 interviews were conducted between the 16 and 30th June 2009 using Computer Assisted Telephone
Interviewing (CATI).


                                                                                                                  47

				
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